Abstract: I promised on facebook I would watch the halftime show, and then write detailed notes about my thoughts. I have only seen still photos of people in shark suits, and heard whispers of what happened, mostly because I am still in Turkey where I can talk to nobody about it.
methodology: I watch the video, and sometimes pause it to write better.
Hypothesis: I will be moderately entertained.
0:19–The scene opens with cheering fans in pokemon stadium. Who will emerge victorious??
0:34–A fire imp on a poorly-rendered beast shouts things in falsetto.
0:36 — OH that’s Katy Perry.
1:05–That golden lion…is it like a trojan horse? Katy Perry has snuck the beast into the stadium where we cheer its appearance, thinking it a gift from the defeated army, only to have it burst open and spill hundreds of greek soldiers into the crowd?
1:08–yeah, fist pump, Katy.
1:26–we have reached the chorus of Roar. Crowd is cheering.
1:47–I finally see the gold lion puppeteers. What are they thinking? What are their lives like? Who do they go home to? Tell me about these people.
1:58–She is actually roaring! the lion is rearing. I expect the cheers to turn to screams as the soldiers emerge from the lion’s underbelly.
2:04–leaping chess persons! Not chessmen. That’s sexist.
2:28–I am frightened by these costumes. I’m getting an eighties vibe, an alice in wonderland vibe, and a fever dream vibe. Possible themes for later analysis: Polygons.
3:18–A guitarist is on the revolve. He looks cool. It is Jimi Hendrix. From the dark magic of the last song, his soul has been summoned from the underdark and pressed into John Mayer’s body, and now the thrall Mayer/Hendrix will play for us. What have we done. What have we done.
3:30 — Katy Perry grinds on her guitarist familiar and flames shoot behind them. It is meant to be, hell.
3:58–I was wondering why I couldn’t recognize the song and then I realized why. They are singing, “I kissed a girl and I liked it,” which is confusing, since the Mayer/Hendrix thrall is in a male form, and he oozes heterosexuality so it is not all surprising that he kissed a girl at all, and Katy Perry is not kissing anyone, and it is also not a Katy Perry song.
4:16–ohhhhhhh, the fire is shooting behind the touchdown gates. They’re on a football field. I almost forgot. What are those things called? The endpins? The big yellow fork? Shit, I swear I know this word.
4:29–yeah, fist pump.
4:37–sharks and palm trees, top view.
4:40–WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING
4:$#–WHY ARE THE BEACH BALLS ALIVE
4:46–AND THE TREES
4:51–HOW DID SHE CHANGE SO QUICKAKLY
4:59–Someone is holding a small section of cartoon wave and moving it back and forth behind Katy Perry. Who is this person? What is their darkest fear? What is their secret name? What would they write a Postsecret about?
5:04–for the first time, the cameras get a good look at Katy Perry. She seems happy.
5:06–the beach ball has only one tooth. It looks sad. The palm trees all look happy.
5:09–“I know they just told me to like bounce back and forth but man, I feel like…is this right? What is blue surfboard doing?”–pink surfboard
5:24–SHARKS ARE SINGING SONG TOO SHARK WANT TO SING
5:30–I WISH TOO TO BE SHARK
5:40–THE BEACH BALLS ARE SINGING EVERYTHING IS SINGING WE ARE ALL SINGING
5:50–PLEASE ALL SING TOGETHER
6:09–I really like the clapping sharks. If I were a shark, this is also how I would clap. I will clap like a shark for maybe a week now.
6:12–“make some noise, superbowl!” I make some noise from my couch, where I watch this thing on youtube. It is a small mewl, like that of a newborn cat.
6:14– Top view of dancing sharks and trees.
7:25–“California Girls” is already over and I feel a great sadness come over me. I had little to add to the above thoughts while they were singing “teenage dream,” except that I wish the dancing girls also had giant suits to be dressed like inanimate objects.
7:43–Is there someone else playing in this show?
8:08–oh, it is missy elliott.
8:21–I realize they are singng and dancing on a giant Simon Says game, or perhaps a Bop It. We have very abuptly moved from a colorful cartoon land to somewhere very cool and fast-moving, a land with better dancers.
8:40– FIELD GOAL. Was the word I was thinking of. That’s the play though, not the object. What is the object called? Goal sticks?
9:04–I have lost the thread of events. I feel disoriented. Missy Elliott is rapping and it is cool! I wish I knew these songs. I am not cool. She has a pretty dope microphone though. I wish I had my name in silver on a microphone.
10:11–How does Katy keep changing costumes so quickly? I am amazed. She is covered in stars, much like the American flag.
10:30–I sense that they are building towards some sort of emotional climax with “firework,” which starts out with asking if anyone feels like a plastic bag. “Let me hear you RUSTLE, SUPERBOWLLLL!!!!”
10:33–Katy Perry’s puppeteers have put aside their shark costumes for giant, light-up balloons. Wait, is Katy Perry herself a puppet? Is she just an animate form constructed from our american subconscious, given life by the same power which animated Jimi Hendrix when they kissed a girl, and liked it? Future generations will look on this whole Superbowl ritual, much like Neitzsche looked upon ancient Greek theatre, and conclude not that it was a wholesome celebration of competition and american-ness, but instead a trance ceremony to a dark god where mortal actors are sacrificed and reborn in a mystical Dionysian union. There is some–
10:43–oh yep, she’s holding a big cartoon star.
10:45–and is on a swing. Sacrifice immanent. Perhaps to the gold lion?
11:02–I will not lie, I felt a little thrill on “firework” and seeing the fireworks.
11:18–YEAH SING IT KATY
11:26–YOU ARE ACTUALLY FLYING LIKE A FIREWORK
11:36–THIS IS A LOT OF FIREWORKS
11:57–BOOM WHOOSH YEAH SHOOT OUT OF THE STADIUM
12:17–EVEN KATY PERRY IS CRYING
12:25–NOW SHE IS FLYING
12:30–“Thank you America!” NO, THANK YOU, KATY PERRY, FOR BEING AMERICA
Conclusion: Much like how a winter solstice bonfire persuades the sun to return for yet another year and shed light to the crops, our combat ritual has renewed the spirit of America for yet another year, and the torch upon the Statue of Liberty will burn until next Superbowl, when its embers will shudder and threaten to go out. As an American, I got a little carried away at the end because Katy Perry was flying, and I don’t know what combination of symbols she evoked from my seething id, but she deserves our thanks. Play ball.